On Sunday, Nov. 10, Greek Council and Unity House co-sponsored a panel on LGBTQ+ identities in Greek life. Moderators structured the panel as a Q&A, answering questions submitted via an anonymous Google form and those posed by attendees during the event. Panelists represented a variety of Greek organizations: Alpha Delta Phi, Delta Tau Delta, Epsilon Delta Mu, Phi Kappa Tau, Theta Delta Phi and the Archon Society.
Sophia Castaldo ’20, President of Greek Council, and Micah Fisher ’21, a Unity House manager and Gender and Sexuality Chair of Alpha Delta Phi, planned the event prior to the current recruitment season.
“As a Greek Council, we’re always trying to think of ways to improve our recruitment process and work to make sure that everyone feels invited and welcome,” Castaldo said. “We were hoping that more first years or potential new members were going to come.”
Instead, many of the attendees were already members of Greek life, particularly from the organizations represented on the panel.
“It became obvious that we can all do better, and we should all work together to improve our organizations,” said Cat Smith ’20, a panelist and member of Epsilon Delta Mu. “I hope that we have more conversations in the future and that more people come.”
Most questions centered around gender identity and nonconformity in Greek life, which has historically relied on gendered spaces. Panelists expressed that although their organizations want to become more gender-inclusive, they worry that national policies and traditional recruitment procedures may hinder this goal.
“One of the crucial moments for me was seeing different organizations who are producing this narrative of, ‘It’s never come up, but we would handle it well if it did,’” said Henry Biedron ’21, Vice President of Greek Council and Risk Management Chair of Phi Kappa Tau. “I was reminded that maybe one of the reasons it doesn’t come up as much is because it’s not something organizations are actively advertising or thinking about. We need to be proactive in reaching out to marginalized groups.”
Several panelists also expressed a desire to more explicitly include diversity and inclusion within their organizations’ recruitment materials. “We need to do a better job of doing outreach to ensure that the larger Kenyon community understands that we are a welcoming and accepting environment,” Smith said.
Greek Council hopes to host another similar event later this semester or early next semester.
“The more you talk about it, the more you make people aware of it, the more people will care and come,” Biedron said. “It’s admittedly a complicated issue, and I think we should be doing more work than we are to take it on. This is a good first step in that direction.”